How to Market Software to Healthcare Professionals
Marketing to healthcare professionals is never easy. They are constantly bombarded with information, making it hard to stand out from the crowd. Strict regulations mean that trust comes at a premium and entering the market as a new contender is correspondingly challenging.
To market your healthcare software, you may need to engage multiple stakeholders at different levels of the organization, then maintain their interest and buy-in throughout the long sales cycle. In this article, we'll look at some tips and techniques to get your software in front of the right people in the healthcare industry, generate more leads, and keep your bottom line in the peak of health.
Challenges of Marketing to Healthcare Providers
1. It's a complex industry
Step 1 of any software marketing strategy is always to understand your market thoroughly. Especially true in the healthcare industry, where you may be targeting multiple buyer personas within any given client account. For example, if you're targeting hospitals, you'll need to position your product as a solution for both doctors and purchasing departments alike – and demonstrate how you solve problems in a way that is both cost-effective and medically safe.
2. Trust is hard to come by
And trust matters in healthcare, where lives are literally on the line. Healthcare providers must face a ton of information – whether that's the latest medical news, regulatory updates, or marketing collateral. To stand out, you have to establish trust and authority – which can be hard to do as a new market entrant.
3. The sales cycle is notoriously slow
As a marketer, that means you not only have to attract your leads in the first place (never easy) – you have to keep them interested during a purchasing process that may last weeks or even months.
4. The industry is change-resistant
Due to the highly regulated nature of the market, healthcare providers can be slow to change – for instance, one survey by Accenture found that healthcare providers were failing to keep pace with their own patients' demands for digital solutions.
Tips for Marketing to Healthcare Professionals
So what can marketers do to generate and convert more leads in the healthcare sector? Here are our four top tips:
1. Get detailed about your segmentation
While having a clear grasp of your buyer personas is essential for any software marketing strategy, it's especially critical if you're selling to the healthcare market. For one thing, you need to make sure you're reaching all the stakeholders involved in the purchasing decision. Having a clear understanding of the challenges and priorities for each buyer type will ensure that your content, website, and campaigns cover all your bases.
2. Build automated, personalized journeys
Once you've built thorough, data-rich buyer personas, you need to develop a digital "journey" for each profile. You can start with the standard "always-on" pathway that can be readily automated. For instance, you can offer a high-value white paper or another lead magnet with an email gateway, leading into an email series that guides your prospect from cold to warm and ends with an invitation to a sales call.
However, to stand out in this crowded market, you might also want to consider a higher level of personalization, such as journeys based on "trigger events" that you can identify from your knowledge of your target market.
An excellent example of a personalized journey might be a content series aimed at healthcare providers affected by a new type of regulation. The series could start with an educational article on how the regulation may affect your specific target, offer a free webinar to provide more detail, and then use the email addresses from the webinar to deliver a highly targeted email series explaining how your software can help them avoid any compliance pitfalls or risks.
While these can be programmed manually, you may find it easier to use your CRM software to help you segment your contacts more thoroughly, and tie content delivery to their online behavior, rather than more general data points (such as company size or job role.)
3. Win trust with great content
Speaking of content, it's clear that high-value content is a must-have for software marketing in the healthcare space. NewsCred called 2019 "the year of healthcare content marketing," and this is as true for those marketing to healthcare providers as to the providers themselves.
Research by Healthlink Dimensions found that healthcare providers prefer content that focuses on industry news, patient education materials, and information regarding insurance network updates. To catch the attention of future users of your software platform, consider creating content that will help make medical professionals better at their jobs, more informed for their patients, or more knowledgeable about their sector.
4. Grow authority with 3rd party partnerships
Content is also a great way to build your authority as a trusted provider – and authority is fundamental in this highly regulated environment. By creating valuable, useful content (including original research, e-books, "how to" guides or other helpful materials) will enable you to demonstrate your company's understanding of their needs and challenges.
Norm Phillips, the CMO of Biopharm Communications, argues that content becomes even more compelling to the healthcare market if promoted via an established brand:
"My experience has repeatedly shown that engagement rates and impact of third-party campaigns are significantly higher than campaigns from a first-party source. So, wherever possible, utilize trusted third-party communication vehicles, meaning promotional messaging coming from a source that is not owned by the manufacturer or promotional marketer of the product."
For instance, consider building co-marketing campaigns with a strategic partner, a related (but non-competing) service provider, or even a key client – case studies are a powerful way to build trust in the healthcare market.
The healthcare industry can be tough, crowded, slow, and conservative. Getting ahead in this industry will require software companies to:
- Thoroughly define, analyze and segment their buyer personas, then create the high-value content their prospects are looking for;
- Partner with industry influencers and known brands to add authority to their content;
- Distribute this trust-building content through personalized journeys based on behavioral triggers.
If you'd like our help to build a compelling marketing strategy for your healthcare software, click here to schedule a time to chat with us.